8 eye-poppingly horrific moments from the original Twilight Zone

Contributed by
Dec 15, 2012

Sure, Twilight Zone pushed the limits of sci-fi television with its shocking plot twists, but it also sometimes used a simple, startling image to strike fear into our hearts. For the 5th of our 31 posts for the 31 days of Halloween, here are the seven scenes from this classic series most likely to give you nightmares.

Beware—once seen, these clips can't be unseen.

Robot Woman Gets Shot in the Face

Episode: "The Lonely"

Is this standard procedure for shutting down robots in the future? "Sorry Timmy, there's no room for your robo-dog in the new apartment. Go shoot him in the face and then help us pack."

William Shatner Always Gets Sat next to a Freak

Episode: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"

The gremlin, obviously enraged at being stuck in the coach section, begins tearing up the wing of the plane. Shatner does the only logical thing by stealing a gun and shooting out the window of the plane, causing him to fly out the hole. Remember when you could bring a gun on a plane and shoot imaginary monsters without consequence? Those were times of boyish innocence.

Dude Peels Back His Own Skin

Episode: "In His Image"

(skip to 26:52)

So this guy lives a normal life, falls in love, bumps into his own double, then peels his skin off. Yeah, Twilight Zone went there. Even with the ancient special effects, it's not easy to watch.

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It turns out that this inventor was making robots of himself to go out and mack on chicks for him. If he was smarter, he would have just made himself a robot girlfriend.

Severed Head Jack-in-the-Box

Episode: "It's a Good Life"

Here he plays a kid who can make anything happen, simply by imagining it. In a scene reminiscent of a Hallmark original movie, a drunk guy advocates killing the child and is turned into a Jack-in-the-Box. The fearful citizens urge the boy to wish the head-in-a-box into "the cornfield," because apparently severed heads make good fertilizer or something.

Small Child Repeatedly Attempts Suicide

Episode "Long Distance Call"

(skip to 18:30)

What's creepier than a kid receiving call from the dead telling him to kill himself? Bill Mumy is.

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In this horrific tale, Mumy plays a child who keeps getting calls from his dead grandmother. His granny misses him, and wants them to be reunited via him offing himself. So, first he runs in front of a car, without much luck. Then, the small child tries to drown himself at the request of his deceased grandma. That grandma sure is a jerk, and she's almost definitely going to lose her afterlife phone privileges for this stunt.

The Pig Doctors

Episode: "Eye of the Beholder"

Which brings up a point we've always wondered: how hard is it to make someone look ugly, really? It doesn't even look like these doctors tried to make the patient look more like them, a feat which can be achieved by sticking your face in a radioactive blender. It may seem futuristic and farcical, but not 100 years ago there were laws requiring war heroes to cover up head disfigurements with a mask or hood.

Doll Tells Kid to Kill

Episode: "Caesar and Me"

Also, we're intrigued by the concept of a doll and a murderous child on the lam. When is this show going to air? Or, better yet, just have that girl from Small Wonder short circuit and start axing people.

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Doll Torture

Episode: "Living Doll"

It may seem offbeat, but this is exactly what will happen if Google opens a children's toy division.

The Twilight Zone episodes pack thrills that are not always cerebral, but sometimes quite visceral as well. That's how they've managed to us on the edge of our seats for over 50 years.